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Somers Beach

Somers Beach State Park Planning Project

In October 2021, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) acquired the 106-acre Somers Beach property on the northwest shore of Flathead Lake with plans to add it to Montana’s state park system. The previous owners permitted public access to the property for many years. Its designation as a state park will help to perpetuate public enjoyment and access into the future.

 

About the Planning Process

In spring 2022, FWP is conducting a public planning process to help guide future use and development of the site with the goal of establishing a clear vision and long-term plan for the park.

The overall process is expected to take several months. To kick things off, FWP conducted a public scoping survey and asked general questions about preferences, interests, and ideas for the site. There were nearly 1,300 individual responses with approximately 80% coming from the Flathead Valley. In addition, a virtual public meeting was held March 16 via Zoom. The meeting was recorded (see below video). The intent was to share a brief history of the site, introduce core planning concepts and milestones, and answer questions. 

 

In the coming months, FWP will organize additional rounds of public feedback to narrow in on a site development proposal. Stay tuned for more information about additional opportunities to participate and provide perspective.

A final planning document that embodies the following characteristics will be issued toward the end of this year:

  • Consider a cross-section of community values and desires as they relate to the development of Somers Beach.

  • Identify opportunities for recreational services, amenities, and development that are consistent with the state park classification system.

  • Establish clear guidance for the protection and management of important natural, cultural, and scenic resources, consistent with FWP's mission.

  • Recommend educational or interpretive approaches that will help to broaden visitors’ knowledge and appreciation of the area, as well as for agency regulations.

  • Promote access for all visitors and provide for their safety and wellness.

  • Provide a basis for decisions related to agency operations, capital outlays, and staffing levels.

  • Inform the agency's partnership goals and strategies to support stewardship of the site.

FWP believes that public participation is extremely important to an informed planning process. Engagement from a diverse set of local residents, current and prospective park users, subject matter experts, and key stakeholders is desired. FWP will conduct surveys, hold in-person and virtual meetings, and gather necessary data from a variety of sources to help develop a vision for Somers Beach that honors FWP’s goal to steward the site in a way that strikes an appropriate balance between providing safe, enjoyable recreational experiences with protecting fish, wildlife, habitat, and heritage resources.

 

Timeline and Key Milestones

Below is a timeline of key milestones since FWP's acquisition of Somers Beach:

 

Questions?

Dave Landstrom ​
FWP Regional Recreation Manager ​

490 N. Meridian Rd ​

Kalispell MT 59901  ​

(406) 751-4574 ​

dlandstrom@mt.gov